Solar Impulse’s maiden flight was made possible by Solvay’s innovative materials and knowhow

It is the first time in history a manned and exclusively solar-powered airplane is able to fly over one hour. This is a new breakthrough towards the first non-stop 36 hours flight exclusively on solar power, planned later this year.

Besides being the first main partner of this exciting project, Solvay is also aboard the Solar Impulse with 11 products, contributing to 25 different applications and more than 6,000 parts, mainly in the 3 main applications of energy system, structure and weight reduction.
Solvay’s specialty polymers were instrumental in improving the energy system of the plane. Solef® and F1EC by realizing energy savings and increasing energy density of the Lithium ion batteries and Halar® as ultra-resistant protection film for the ultra thin photovoltaic cells. Solvay high-performance polymers such as Torlon® PAI, KetaSpire® PEEK or PrimoSpire® SRP are used in various applications and devices such as ball bearings, bolts and screws, washers, shafts, hinges, spacers and other mechanical pieces.

PVC produced by Solvay’s affiliate SolVin is equally used in the moveable and inflatable Solar Impulse shelter which is designed to cover and protect the prototype airplane on the ground. This polymer makes the water ballast tanks, which keep the lightweight hangar firmly fixed on the ground, watertight.

Solvay also supplied testing services, consultation and performed the non-linear stress simulations of the polymer assemblies. The results of these simulations were later validated during the stress test of the assemblies.

“This is a historical achievement. This successful flight demonstrates that Solvay’s innovative materials and solutions play an essential role in technological and human progress. My congratulations to the Solar Impulse and Solvay teams that helped bring this remarkable accomplishment to life”, says Christian Jourquin, Solvay’s Chief Executive Officer.

SOLVAY is an international Chemicals group. It offers a broad range of products and solutions that contribute to improving quality of life. The Group is headquartered in Brussels and employs more than 19,000 people in 50 countries. In 2009, its consolidated sales amounted to EUR 8.5 billion. Solvay is listed on the NYSE Euronext stock exchange in Brussels (NYSE Euronext: SOLB.BE - Bloomberg: SOLB.BB - Reuters: SOLBt.BR). Details are available at



Media Relations
Erik De Leye
+32 2 264 1530
Investor Relations
Patrick Verelst
+32 2 264 1540